With several Carnethies signed up for the Tiree Ultra in September we decided that a beach run would be good training and an opportunity to have a day out! Talk after Caerketton focussed on the weekend weather forecast which couldn’t seem to make its mind up. However, our fears were unfounded and Saturday dawned bright and clear. In fact it would almost be too hot at times.
13 Carnethies (or should I say 11 plus 2 possible new recruits) set off from Longniddry Train station at 9am. To avoid the dreaded tarmac we nipped through Gosford Estate and headed for the coast. We were now on the official John Muir Way but we would soon join Keith Burns alternative route as we headed across the footbridge to enchantment and into Aberlady Bay nature reserve. Billy adopted Willie’s mantle and took us on a detour to some wrecked WW2 submarines for our history lesson of the day!
Gullane beach now beckoned, some headed over the rocks clinging to the coast while others followed the rollercoaster path above, their reward being a helter skelter descent down the sand dunes. By now we were feeling peckish so the first detour of the day led us inland to Archerfield and the Walled Garden. Bacon rolls were on everyone’s mind but typically Scottish customer service of the Morningside variety met us (as in “you’ll have had your tea”!) Breakfast was no longer being served. We could have coffee and cake or buy something from the deli. Luckily the deli staff had attended customer service training!
Suitably refuelled (Jeff managed his first beer of the day), the next stop was Yelllowcraigs via the Fairy Trail. A further detour via the children’s play park (think Craigmillar has a rival here) and we hit the beach just in time to see the dolphins frolicking in the sea!
North Berwick and the Law were now in sight. We hadn’t scheduled a stop here but Fringe by the Sea was in full swing and it would have been rude not to have a look, especially when we spotted the Curious Brewing tent! A swift half (or more in some cases) and we were off. Chris left us here – probably a wise move as we had now covered 16 miles and none of us realised we would end up doing the same again!
Past the paddling pool and along the East Beach we soon left North Berwick behind, our minds now firmly fixed on Canty Bay and the new Drift Cafe. It had been a long time since we’d eaten! The cake and the views were worth the scramble up to the road plus the dolphins made a reappearance.
There was to be no storming of Tantallon Castle today but luckily the combines had been out which made our descent to Seacliff easier. The tide was well in now so yet another detour up though the farm was necessary before we could rejoin the beach at Ravensheughs. Here was our biggest obstacle of the day. Crossing the Peffer Burn is usually a knee deep affair but as Michelle started to wade through she started to slowly disappear! Even Lucas was waist deep! Just as well it was warm.
Dunbar looked to be in touching distance but first we had to follow the secret trail through Little Binning Wood and then the Tyne stood before us. None of us were willing to swim (sorry Mark!) so it was time to detour again though a field of cows and across the condemned bridge. All safely over, the mileage was beginning to tell on some (it would be the furthest 3 or 4 of the group had ever run). So three made their way to Fox Lake and who do we meet now but Keith on his mountain bike saying what are you lot doing out here? Did I not get an email?
The remaining 9 soldiered on, into John Muir Country Park, a quick wave to the llamas at East Links and on to Belhaven. Time and tired legs now won the day and we headed up the Back Road past Winterfield Golf Club and to our waiting cars at the swimming pool!
An epic day – 31.6 miles according to my strava – great weather and good company. Got to love these Carnethy social runs 😊